Redflex, the beleaguered automated ticketing firm from down under, has signed a new contract with the City of Phoenix to pilfer drivers accused of… well, just about anything. The accompanying press release gleefully brags that “solution expansion” is all-but inevitable, meaning the advanced surveillance cameras will more than likely be used for so-called “secondary violations:”
During the term of this relationship, the contract explicitly allows for the solution expansion, including the enforcement of… Secondary violation capturing and processing.
Secondary violations can be anything from equipment violations (head/tail lamp, overweight vehicle) to additional moving violations (such as seat belt/child seat, tailgating, etc). No word on if such cameras will be equipped with alcoholic open-container detection, lest they capture some of their own inebriated scam van drivers.
Most amusing is the “expansion” for the City of Phoenix and Redflex into installing “light rail cameras,” which would surveil 24/7 under the guise of catching drivers who illegally cross the tracks of the mass-transportation system. Since the rail’s blazing-fast 25MPh inception, no automobile drivers have been killed and only a handful of collisions reported, which underscores the real purpose of such cameras: profit, not safety.
By contrast, what’s not amusing is the heartless double-dipping that is involved with most secondary violations. While many police officers use discretion in not “filling a ticket” with everything they legally could, a for-profit Australian company has no such heart. Light rail enforcement could be extremely lucrative, as those accused of illegal crossings could most likely also be cited for the initial “failure to obey a traffic control signal device.” Combination tickets such as these could easily exceed $500 and prove to be especially difficult for low-income families to fight.
Install away, Phoenix! Unlike the greek myth, your photo radar cameras won’t be rising out of the ashes once the public bans them statewide in November 2010. (And that’s assuming they aren’t turned to ash sooner…)